You Should Never Carry a Business Card…Here’s Why
Can I get one of your business cards?
If you’ve been to any networking event in the past 100 years, you’ve likely been asked this question. Not only have you been asked the question, but chances are good you ask that question of others on a regular basis. I know because I spent over a year doing it myself.
Here’s how it happened…
I attended all of the terribly boring networking events.
I introduced myself to as many strangers as I could.
After two minutes of awkward small talk, I asked them for their card.
Then I’d head back to the office and dump all the cards into my bottom desk drawer. This drawer was like a business card purgatory. The cards would sit there hoping that one day someone would magically reach in and pull them out.
But it never happened.
Once I decided to leave that job, I was commissioned with the task of cleaning out my desk. When I pulled open the bottom drawer I was a little shocked to discover I had collected over 500 business cards in my 18 months on the job.
Not wanting to waste these extremely valuable resources, I asked my manager what he wanted me to do with them, to which he responded, “Throw them away!”
Great! Eighteen months of sitting through terrible presentation after terrible presentation. Awful meal, after awful meal. It was only at that moment when I realized I had completely wasted my time at these networking events.
But I’m not alone…
Ask any salesperson to see the business cards they’ve picked up over the last few months, and chances are good they can produce a huge, often completely disorganized, stack of cards.
As a result of seeing the graveyard of business cards when cleaning out my desk, I vowed to never carry business cards with me again.
When I started Ugly Mug Marketing, I was so serious about not repeating this same mistake again that I decided I wouldn’t even have business cards printed. And for the first four years of doing business I didn’t even have a business card with my name on it.
Instead, I’ve developed a system that will enable you to stand out from the crowd and really impress people during the process.
Here’s how to do it…
After being nudged awake by the person sitting next to you (indicating the speaker successfully completed their goal: put everybody into a comatose state), quickly wipe the drool from your face and prepare to meet all the other people attempting to awake from the trance they’ve been under.
When someone asks the inevitable question, “Can I have one of your cards?”, you should respond, “Oh, I’m sorry I don’t have one on me. If you don’t mind let me get one of your cards and then I’ll send you my contact info.”
Now that you have a pocket full of business cards, it’s time to head back to your office and make some magic.
Once at your office, what you’ll want to do is write a thank you note to each of the people from whom you’ve collected cards. Your note can simply read:
It was very nice meeting you today at the XYZ event. I enjoyed learning a little about you and your company. I would love to connect and learn more. Maybe over coffee one morning? Let me know what works on your end. Here’s my contact info. Talk soon…
Send it immediately. Don’t wait until the next day. Time matters. You’ll want them to receive this note as close to your initial introduction as possible.
If it’s someone that you’re serious about connecting with, wait a week and follow up with an email, and/or a personal phone call. You can simply repeat what you said in your thank you note, but add in: How does next Tuesday morning at 7:30 work for coffee?
This second follow-up lets them know that you’re serious about getting to know them better and learning about them and their company.
Pat yourself on the back. With the four simple steps above you’ve now separated yourself from the pack.
If you do what everyone else does, you’ll get the same results everyone else gets. Give this simple five step process a try and see how many more meaningful connections you make.
And as an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about remembering to bring business cards with you everywhere you go!
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